Microsoft recently announced the launch of Visual Search capability with its Bing search engine. The feature is similar to Google Lens, and it allows you to take a picture of something on your phone and have Bing search for it online. It uses the object recognition powered by AI that can recognize a flower, dog breed, or famous landmarks. It can come in handy while your shopping or just walking around town and want more info on something you come across. “Sometimes, it is almost impossible to describe what you want to search for using words,” writes Vince Leung, product lead for Bing Images at Microsoft. Here’s a look at how to use it and what you can expect.
How to “Bing” a Picture
To use it, just tap the camera button on any of those apps. For example, below I used the Bing app for Android and took a picture of flowers on my deck. It takes a moment to scan the picture and then provides search results you can scroll through. It’s also worth noting that you can use it to search photos you’ve already taken that are stored in your gallery.
There are many ways you can use this out in the real world when you come across something that you’d like to get more information about. In fact, the first time you use it, it will display some suggestions. You can use it to search landmarks, animals, or while shopping. It also lets you crop a certain section or object in a picture so you can get more relevant and specific results.
The new visual search capability is currently only available for users in the U.S. and on a broad range of mobile apps including the Bing app for Android and iOS, Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Launcher for Android, and is coming soon for Edge on iOS. Keep in mind that this is a new feature and it might not provide the best results every time – the same goes for Google Lens. But as big tech companies like Google and Microsoft continue to adopt these types of machine learning algorithms, it will only improve over time.
Check out the short video below from Microsoft that demonstrates ways you can use the Bing Visual Search technology.